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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
HELPLESS - The tight labor market that has driven up pay and benefits for restaurants and big-box stores is now squeezing the public sector, contributing to issues like delayed trash pick-up, a lack of bus drivers and, as Law.com’s Max Mitchell reports, extremely shorthanded court systems. As public agencies struggle to attract workers, burnout is becoming a concern in some offices, and some fear problems may begin to arise that could interfere with court operations, such as slowdowns for entering docket data, lack of security at courthouses, or delays in prisoner transports. What’s more, the problem isn’t likely to improve unless and until public agencies’ notoriously tight budgets are increased to the point where they can reasonably compete in the job market against other local businesses. The issue was laid bare recently in Beaver County when Clerk of Courts Judy Enslen recruited a woman with a master’s degree in criminal justice to work in the office, only to watch her leave a short while later to take a job at Walmart for a few dollars an hour more. “I couldn’t blame her,” Enslen told Mitchell. “When you’re talking $100 [more] a week, that’s a big difference. It all comes down to the starting salaries.”